MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy Co. said Monday it is buying out its joint venture partner, Carphone Warehouse Group PLC, in its fast-growing North American mobile business for $1.34 billion. As part of the reorganization of its relationship with the U.S. consumer electronics giant, Carphone Warehouse will shutter the 11 pilot big-box Best Buy stores it opened last year in the United Kingdom.
Best Buy Europe, in which Carphone Warehouse holds a half interest, will now focus on selling Internet and mobile phone connections through 2,500 Carphone Warehouse and Phone House stores in Europe. The two companies are also launching a joint venture, Global Connect, to develop markets outside North America and Western Europe.
"Each of these actions represents an exciting growth opportunity for Best Buy and near and long-term value for our shareholders. We are aggressively ramping up our growing connections capability to support consumers' increasingly connected lives across the entire range of devices entering the marketplace," said Brian J. Dunn, CEO of Best Buy.
Best Buy said it expected to book pretax restructuring charges of $140 million to $150 million due to the closure of the U.K. stores.